Early strikes help Dresden subdue ’Dogs
Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 12:03 pm
Gleason made one big play to stay close early.
Dresden made a lot of little plays to eventually pull away.
The Lions methodically piled up 336 total yards and scored five touchdowns to defeat Weakley County rival Gleason 34-6 Friday night at Dresden’s Rotary Field.
The win keeps Dresden, ranked No. 6 in the Class 2A Associated Press state polls, rolling along to a playoff berth and high seed in its quadrant of the bracket with an 8-1 overall record and 3-1 District 13A mark.
Gleason, meanwhile, showed flashes of sterling play but couldn’t string together enough plays in falling to 3-5 overall and 0-4 in the district.
Dresden simply moved up and down the field in a workmanlike manner all night. The Lions had only two plays go for more than 20 yards, both for 22 and both triggered by quarterback Gatlin Hatchel. But, 18 of Dresden’s 53 offensive snaps covered at least 10 yards as the team racked up 20 first downs on the night.
Hatchel rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and completed 10-of-12 passes for 106 yards and two more scores.
Dresden quietly and efficiently went through its game plan, a fact that did not go unnoticed, and certainly not unheard, by Lion head coach Scott Hewett.
“It was kind of strange,” Hewett said of the quiet sideline. “At times in the beginning, it was kind of loud, and then it got like a tennis match with everything quiet. We didn’t take them lightly, either. They fought us hard. It was a good fight. They had some good plays against us. I can’t say enough good things about Gleason. They’re well-coached and do a great job.”
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs got two big plays out of their offense, including a 66-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, but were limited to 205 total yards. Three of Gleason’s four plays for 20-plus yards came via QB Conner Verdell’s arm, while the other was a product of his running as Verdell finished with 142 yards on 6-of-18 passing and 25 yards on four rushes.
Gleason ran 49 total plays, losing yards on 11.
“We just didn’t come out and execute very well offensively or defensively,” Gleason head coach Noah Lampkins said. “We dropped a ball for a touchdown that would have kept us in the game in the first half. We just didn’t execute well offensively or have good communication defensively. Had we done all those things right, we probably still wouldn’t have won the ballgame, but it would have been a more competitive ballgame. So, I’m pretty disappointed in our execution. We look like a badly coached football team right now.”
Dresden executed well right out of the gate, scoring twice and forcing a turnover within the first eight minutes of the game.
The Lions crisply marched 60 yards in 10 plays on the opening possession, picking up four first downs and scoring on a six-yard pass from Hatchel, who had two carries of 11 yards on the drive, to Tyler McPeak with 8:05 to play.
Devan Raymer then picked off a Verdell pass over the middle on Gleason’s third offensive play, and Dresden scored again five plays later when Hatchel ran it in from eight yards out at 4:43.
Good on his first point-after kick, Raymer had his second block to keep the score at 13-0.
Verdell’s second pass went much better for the Bulldogs, a 66-yard strike to Thomas Fowler at 3:09.
“They were lined up playing press coverage, and we were able to get behind them a couple of times,” Lampkins said.
“I would’ve thought that (two early scores) would fire us up, but then they burned us for the long touchdown pass,” Hewett said. “We kept telling our guys that their quarterback was good and could throw it a country mile, and they have more speed than we do. And, they proved it there.”
Dresden responded, however, going 68 yards in 11 plays for its third TD, Raymer plunging in from a yard out at 9:50 of the second period. McPeak’s 22-yard catch from Hatchel on 2nd-and-11 kept the drive alive.
Gleason then embarked on a 14-play drive that moved from its own 38 to the Lion 27 but was stopped on a failed fourth-down try.
Getting the ball to open the second half and trailing 20-6, Gleason was forced into a three-and-out and was then unable to stop Dresden’s fourth TD march. Dresden went 53 yards in eight plays, ending with another short burst by Raymer as he scored from two yards out at 7:07.
Gleason had two nice drives stopped by Dresden, first using a 24-yard pass and facemask penalty to get across midfield and later going for 40 yards on a Verdell pass to Fowler to get within 10 yards of a score.
Dresden scored one final time when Colin Kanehl caught a 14-yard pass from Hatchel with 2:14 to play in the game.
“They just out-executed us,” Lampkins said. “They execute well and do what they’re supposed to do. They’re a well-coached team. We needed breaks to beat them and make the catches that we didn’t make, but we just didn’t do it.” Published in The WCP 10.18.11